How was it possible that in a world where thousands of people regulated financial markets the whole system crashed down? And should we now give more power to central banks, government agencies, politicians, and regulators? Isn't that what brought us here in the first place?
Financial Fiasco digs deep into the foundation of the economic meltdown, revealing how it was the product of conscious actions by decisionmakers in companies, government agencies, and political institutions, and by consumers. Financial Fiasco tells the compelling story of how rate-cutting by the Federal Reserve inflated the real estate market and fueled increased risk-taking in the financial markets; how new government policies to promote home ownership blasted air into the credit bubble; how new financial instruments, credit-rating requirements, and accounting rules intended to prevent cheating backfired; and much more.
Financial Fiasco guides readers through a world of irresponsible behavior, warns that many of the "solutions" being implemented are repeating the mistakes that caused the crisis, and offers guidance on how to move forward.
Mark A. Calabria, Ph.D. is Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Cato Institute. Before joining Cato in 2009, he spent six years as a member of the senior professional staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. In that position, Calabria handled issues related to housing, mortgage finance, economics, banking and insurance for Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL).
Prior to his service on Capitol Hill, Calabria served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and also held a variety of positions at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors.
Calabria has also been a Research Associate with the U.S. Census Bureau's Center for Economic Studies. He has extensive experience evaluating the impacts of legislative and regulatory proposals on financial and real estate markets, with particular emphasis on how policy changes in Washington affect low and moderate income households. He holds a doctorate in economics from George Mason University.
Dawn Kopecki is a reporter in Bloomberg News' Washington bureau, covering housing policy, mortgage finance and derivatives regulation.
She had previous worked as a correspondent at BusinessWeek magazine's Washington bureau, writing about politics, the SEC, the mortgage industry, accounting fraud, banking oversight and other Wall Street regulatory and legislative issues. Kopecki spent seven years at Dow Jones Newswires where she also frequently wrote for the Wall Street Journal. She covered Congress as well as securities, accounting, banking, housing and other financial service issues there. She won the 2006 William R. Clabby Dow Jones Newswires award for her coverage of accounting scandals at mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
She's also won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for local business coverage. Kopecki completed the Ford Fellowship in Business Journalism at the University of Kansas in 1998.
Johan Norberg is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a writer who focuses on globalization, entrepreneurship, and individual liberty. Norberg is the author and editor of several books exploring liberal themes, including a history of liberal pioneers in Swedish history. His book In Defense of Global Capitalism, originally published in Swedish in 2001, has since been published in over twenty different countries.
Norberg's articles and opinion pieces appear regularly in both Swedish and international newspapers, and he is a regular commentator and contributor on television and radio around the world discussing globalization and free trade. Prior to joining Cato, Norberg was head of political ideas at Timbro, a Swedish free-market think tank, from 2003 to 2005.
He then served as a senior fellow for the Brussels-based Centre for a New Europe during 2006. Norberg received his master's degree from Stockholm University in the history of ideas.
Dr. Anthony B. Sanders
Anthony B. Sanders is Professor of Finance in the School of Management at George Mason University where he is the Distinguished Professor of Real Estate Finance. He has previously taught at University of Chicago (Graduate School of Business), University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business) and The Ohio State University (Fisher College of Business). In addition, he served as Director and Head of Asset-backed and Mortgage-backed Securities Research at Deutsche Bank in New York City.
His research and teaching focuses on financial institutions and capital markets with particular emphasis on real estate finance and investment. He has published articles in Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Business, Journal of Financial Services Research, Journal of Housing Economics and other journals. Professor Sanders has received 6 teaching awards and 3 research awards.
He serves as Associate Editor for several leading journals. Recently, he has given presentations to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Exane BNP Paribas in Paris and Geneva and the Bank of Japan on the subject of the housing bubble and commercial real estate in the U.S. and the mortgage market. He has given other presentations in Chile, Japan, China, Poland, England and Mexico in recent years. Professor Sanders has testified in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on the U.S. real estate asset and debt markets. Also, he was an invited speaker to the FTC on the subject of predatory lending.
John E. Sununu
John Edward Sununu (born September 10, 1964) is a former Republican United States Senator from New Hampshire. Sununu was the youngest member of the Senate for his entire six year term.
He was also its only Arab-American member during his time in office. He is the son of former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu.
In Anglo-American law, the method by which a debtor (mortgagor) conveys an interest in property to a creditor (mortgagee) as security for the payment of a money debt. The modern mortgage has its roots in medieval Europe. Originally, the mortgagor gave the mortgagee ownership of the land on the condition that the mortgagee would return it once the mortgagor's debt was paid off. Over time, it became the practice to let the mortgagor remain in possession of the land; it then became the mortgagor's right to remain in possession of the land so long as there was no default on the debt.
This video is in good company of many other who have tried to make sense of what went so wrong to cause the collapse in the financial market and how to best to avoid the chance of repeating the same mistakes again. Along the way, so many participants claimed that they just didn't know that what they were doing or allowing to happen were fast pushing the financial market to the brink of collapse. John Sununu is the first one who took on the task to point out how and who got profited from the housing bubble and unsavory mortgage practice. His analysis goes to show that all the participants, individually not institutionally, knew that they were taking great risks for the chances of making a lot of money right away and hopefully cashing out with great sum of gain before the market catches up with them, just like Dawn Kopecki. Also, the assumption that there is always a safety net to catch them when they fall further encourages individuals and institutions to take questionable risks that they wouldn't otherwise.
I agree with Cosmic Ray, from a political perspective, both parties aided and abetted the boom.
From a social perspective, though, I don't think it could really have been avoided, except by some superhuman force stepping in the path of apparent prosperity, and yanking the proverbial punchbowl away from Dems, Reps, Wall Street, local bankers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, construction workers, immigrants, and everyone else considered to be "main street".
Those that suggested such punishing action came from lonely outposts among the the investment community and academia, and were ignored. No one, no one, had the certainty that the boom would end this way, and courage to likely end their careers to do so.
I'm not saying what happened was at all optimal, but that it would have been very hard to avoid - and will be in the future. The key is getting interest rates right, and - at the time - 98% agreed that Volcker, Greenspan, and Bernanke were doing solid work.
I didn't watch this video but I do want to point out that the Federal Reserve (the Boston Branch) issued a paper in 1992 called "Closing the Gap" which listed ways banks could lower their lending standards so that more people with bad credit could get loans. It's interesting to note that much of what this document listed to make it easier to get loans are what banks did.
In summary, government deserves a share of blame for this mess, both Republicans and Democrats.